June 26, 2017

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndromeIrritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional disorder causing abdominal pain with alterations in bowel habits. IBS has been attributed to small bowel bacterial overgrowth and/or dysbiosis. Many patients tend to have intestinal permeability as well as food sensitivities. Most traditional gastroenterologists only perform an endoscopy or colonscopy. These tests typically come back negative or showing mild inflammation. As a result, treatment is usually symptom management with antispasmodics.

Every patient in my office with IBS, autoimmune disorders, or gastrointestional symptoms does a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. The intestinal tract contains more than 400 microbial species which, when imbalanced, have been associated with IBS and IBD, and immune disorders. Balancing the beneficial bacteria is key for optimizing digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as metabolic functions. Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, and autoimmune diseases.

The lab I use for a Comprehensive Stool Analysis uses the best of both culture-based and molecular approaches for stool-based gastrointestinal diagnostics. O&P technology can identify an unlimited number of parasites and is the gold standard diagnostic methodology for parasite detection, while PCR technology provides an expansive assessment of anaerobic gut microflora. This allows us to take a snapshot of the beneficial bacteria and entire micro-biota that is not possible with other stool tests.

Food sensitivities have been associated with intestinal permeability, inflammation, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Food sensitivities are “delayed” food reactions. These reactions are considered the most common form of immunologically mediated food intolerance. These food reactions are actually more common than the IgE responses (RAST Test) that most allergists test. These reactions are more difficult to notice since they can occur hours or even days after consumption of an offending food. In some cases, a person’s reaction to a food may occur several days after eating the offending food and the link between the food and their symptoms may not be connected.

Stool testing and food sensitivity testing must be done for all patients with IBS. It gives us a snapshot of gastrointestinal function and identifies the cause of dysfunction.